I’m going to tell you a secret. The secret is:
Short sentences stand out.
They create impact because they’re quick to read, easy to understand and they balance out longer sentences, like this one.
And they draw the eye.
I didn’t discover this secret. This secret was first introduced to me through master copywriter Joe Sugarman who, for years, has implemented this tactic to draw his readers into his copy. He wrote about this in his great book, The Adweek Copywriting Handbook.
The main goal of your website is to get people to read your first few sentences.
He said if the reader doesn’t read your very first sentence, then it’s highly unlikely that he or she won’t read your second sentence. If they won’t read the second sentence then you probably don’t need me to tell you you have zero chance of getting them to read to the very end.
If you get people to read the first few sentences of your content, they are much more likely to read your content or copy through to the end.
Let’s take a look at some of Joe Sugarman’s typical first sentences:
- Losing weight is not easy
- It’s easy
- It had to happen
- Hats off to IBM
You’ll notice that all of these first sentences are so short they almost aren’t sentences. They’re so short and easy to read that your reader starts to read your copy almost as if being sucked into it. Sugarman used this and other direct marketing tactics to get the world’s first pocket calculator into as many hands as possible.
Sugarman’s philosophy is supported by typographical researchers who discovered that people prefer shorter line lengths when reading content online because it aids reading speed and is easier to understand.
Researchers, Dyson and Haselgrove found that people better comprehend shorter line lengths than longer line lengths.
Continuing with Joe Sugarman’s philosophy, the sole purpose of the first sentence is to get people to read the second sentence. And on it goes.
The good news is that this is a technique you can easily implement into your web copy, blog article or sales page immediately.
- Your first sentence should be a short one
Do you agree or disagree? What do you think? Do you think every first sentence should start with a short sentence or does it “depend” on what you are writing? Thoughts and opinions please! 🙂